Tuesday 25 July 2017

Assistant bar manager gambled away €5,000 worth of takings he stole from work safe

Thomas Cooney (25) had intended replacing the money later but lost it all and immediately handed himself in to the gardai
Thomas Cooney (25) had intended replacing the money later but lost it all and immediately handed himself in to the gardai

Andrew Phelan

An assistant bar manager stole nearly €5,000 in takings from the safe at work and gambled it away in a five to six-hour “losing streak” in a casino.

Thomas Cooney (25) had intended replacing the money later but lost it all and immediately handed himself in to the gardai.

Dublin District Court heard Cooney, a gambling addict, had been under stress at the time and had “grievances” with his job - but not with his employers.

Judge Anthony Halpin jailed him for six months.

Cooney, a father-of-one of Kilkiernan Court, Cabra, pleaded guilty to stealing €4,909 from his workplace at Doyle’s Pub, Doyle’s Corner, Phibsborough on July 6 last.

The court heard when Cooney finished work at 12.15am, he took the cash from the day’s takings and left without permission.

He went to the Fitzwilliam card club on Fitzwilliam Street and over the course of five to six hours, he lost all the money.

Later that day, he handed himself in at the Bridewell Garda Station and admitted what he had done.

Defence solicitor Stephen O’Mahony said Cooney had given “chapter and verse” in the garda station, making it “relatively easy” for the investigating gardai.

Management accepted it was a “once off” and here was no suggestion that anything similar had happened before, Mr O’Mahony said.

It was an unusual case and the theft was “quite blatant.” As assistant manager, Cooney had access to the safe. He had been under “an extreme amount of stress” and had a lot of grievances with his employment but not his employers, Mr O’Mahony continued.

His issue was with the day-to-day running of the bar and he had been assaulted at one point.

“He had a lot of issues dealing with customers - he didn’t have a very orderly house at the time,” Mr O’Mahony said. “He was annoyed with his job.”

Before the theft, Cooney had “pretty much handed in his notice.”

Cooney gambled to relieve stress and his intention had been to use the money to gamble, then replace it.

“He was very much on a losing streak inside the casino, in the course of five to six hours, he lost it all,” Mr O’Mahony said.

The accused had lost his job but had prospects of employment in Canada and intended to pay the money back.

“This offence arose because he has an addiction to gambling and the addiction took over on the day in question,” Judge Halpin said.

He accepted that Cooney would have returned the money if he had “made good” on his gambling, but remarked that “not one penny” of compensation had been brought to court.

“Rather, he seeks the court’s indulgence so he can go to Canada, get a job and repay the money,” the judge said. “I don’t see any merit in that whatsoever.”

Jailing him, he said it was a “very serious matter.” The judge set bail terms in the event of an appeal.

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